Shocked to say, I'm finally doing another post. It has been a while but here goes.
At the time of writing we are just over halfway through the season, 20 games played, 11th in the table, 7 wins, 5 draws and 8 losses and a goal difference of 0. For a first season back, that is not a bad way of looking at it, especially when you see the other 2 promoted teams who finished above us are currently sitting in 17th and 19th respectively, I feel it is safe to say that Sam Allardyce and the team have done extremely well. The players we already had are doing well and those we have brought in to do a job have also been doing their part for the team. Personally my stand out player so far is Winston Reid, I just can't fault him right now, but I can go into that in more detail soon.
We have also seen the transfer window open once again and have already been fairly active in bringing in youngster Sean Maguire, Joe Cole and Marouanne Chamakh. My views on this are as positive as I can be, Sean Maguire is only young and is surely a purchase for the future, he plays up front and he had a successful trial with the club to join our development team and attempt to prove his ability to the manager. Joe Cole is a player all West Hams will remember, when he first broke onto the scene, for me personally he was one of the most exciting players I had ever seen, unfortunately his career didn't go as well as maybe some of us had hoped, although he did have lots of success at Chelsea, maybe we can get him back to how he was? Chamakh is one that I have seen a lot of split views on, but for me personally I think it could be a good loan move, he has the ability there, he proved this at Bordeaux and if memory serves me well, he started well for Arsenal until Robin Van Persie started doing so well and then limited Chamakh to limited appearance and the majority from the bench and since his career has stuttered, but he's another one who I feel Allardyce could get the best out of again. We also sound like we could still be looking for players if the rumours are to be believed so I'm sure the future will look good.
Now for the team in general, overall I'm extremely impressed, not only have we started brilliantly, but we like to mix up our play, short passes, long passes, pushing out wide and getting crosses in etc. We are lucky to have the players in our squad to be comfortable doing so. Below I'm going to give my view on some of the players I've seen and how I feel.
Jussi Jaaskaleinen - A very solid shot stopper and very communicative with the defence, even the attack at times, he seems more than capable in my opinion. At first I wasn't sure, but I feel he has proved me wrong and he looks like a solid purchase to replace Robert Green, I sometimes worry with his parrying, but I know nothing about Goalkeeping!
George McCartney - Unfortunately hasn't featured much this season due to injury, he hasn't looked bad when he has been fit but he hasn't set the league alight. Again solid, but if he is this injury prone, then we could do with an addition for this position, rather than having to play O'Brien on the side he doesn't favour.
Joey O'Brien - Was recently on the front page of one our home programmes, for being the unsung hero, for being very solid defensively. I find he gets a lot of unfounded abuse, which I feel is wrong as I have felt he has done very well, considering he has had to play left back a lot as well.
Guy Demel - I personally have been impressed by Demel most of the time, he's strong, good in the air and isn't afraid to get forward and put a cross in, not the most comfortable with tricky wingers running at him but again I feel he's done quite well.
James Collins - This man has probably had the most up and down season for us so far, fantastic in an aerial battle and good at throwing his body in the way of shots, but has also had his mistakes which you could say have cost us points at times. I think he's great when we're up against tough opponents like say Stoke, but maybe when up against a quicker side like Swansea or Arsenal then Tomkins should be favoured.
Winston Reid - For me, he is well on track for Hammer of the Year. His defensive ability has come so far since he first joined and I hope we keep him for many years to come. Strong, quick, comfortable on the ball and can pick out the odd pass. Just fantastic.
James Tomkins - We haven't seen as much as Tomkins as I would have personally liked and sometimes when he has featured, he hasn't been in what I see as his best position of centre back, but now and then in a holding midfield role or right back. Personally I've found he lacks the running for those two positions but in the centre of defence I've felt he's done well.
Jordan Spence - Hasn't started games, but has featured from the bench a few times, honestly think he could be a future right back for us if he continues to do well, maybe we will see him feature against Manchester United.
Mark Noble - Another player I've felt has done well overall, he's always running around and on his day he can boss a midfield, winning tackles and picking out good passes, now and then though he does misplace a pass or have a misplaced pass, but another who overall I've felt has done well.
Mohammed Diame - One of the best free transfers I've heard about, this guy has a lot going for him, he is good on the ball, can beat his man and can finish as shown versus Arsenal and Chelsea. I do think he does too much at times but he has been class.
Kevin Nolan - A fantastic start for our captain, scored a few goals and helped us get some valuable points on board, but recently he has seemed to have run out of steam a little, but having a game off last week through suspension, hopefully the time off will see him back to his best.
Matt Jarvis - Personally I've felt he's done very well. He's one of the few players in our squad who has the pace to knock the ball past a man and run past him, he also is always trying to get crosses in and I think in time he's going to come very good.
Matty Taylor - Solid overall, not quite got the pace for the wing like he once had, but he can definitely pass a ball and pick out a player, I'm happy with his contribution so far.
Gary O'Neil - Maybe not the best player, but determination wise I feel he always gives it his all, hassling opponents and not giving them time, but his passing can sometimes leave us questioning, but when performing well I like him, as he showed against West Brom.
Jack Collison - Has been out for the majority of season due to injury, but now he is back and I have to say he looks bright, another who is comfortable on the ball and looks ready to take on the man in front of him. Can't wait to see him show everyone what he can do and maybe be back to the Jack we saw before we were relegated.
Ricardo Vaz Te - Probably one of the few who haven't done as well as I'd hoped. The man who shot us back to the Premiership seems to not get the space and time that he had in the Championship, but maybe if he gets some confidence, he could well prove he is good enough for this league.
Carlton Cole - At the start of the season he had been on the bench mostly due to the arrival of Andy Carroll and I felt when he came on, he never really seemed up for it. Then Carroll picked up an injury and in his absence Carlton has come back in, this time he is looking hungry, winning aerial battles and bullying defenders, which, if he keeps up the form could keep Carroll out for longer than just his injury.
Andy Carroll - For me he has done very well, fair enough he hasn't scored many, but he is brilliant at winning and holding up the ball and helping to bring others into play, if he can find his goalscoring boots as well, then he could very well be one of the complete strikers, but first he needs to recover from injury.
Next up is Manchester United in the FA Cup, I have no expectations for this, it's almost impossible to call what sort of side they will bring, surely not wanting to risk their best, just to keep them in top spot and give themselves the upperhand against their bitter Manchester rivals. So the game could definitely be there for the taking. Let's wait and see. All I really hope for this season though, is that we keep up our strong return to the Premiership and solidify ourselves in this division. I personally feel Sam Allardyce deserves a new contract, even though I was one who didn't want him as manager, he has swayed me and I hope he stays, for a couple more years at least.
Come On You Irons!